A self-proclaimed spice enthusiast, she shares two Indian dishes sure to warm your heart.
By Tom McLean
“My life began in Nakhon Sawan, in the North Central Plains of Thailand, but I pursued an education at a school called St. Mary’s Convent in Dehradun, India. My entry point into the culinary arts was quite spontaneous. One of my favourite bakeries in my hometown happened to be hosting a baking class and I decided to enrol on a whim. It was during that class that my gastronomic journey truly began, as I learned how to bake all of the sweet treats that my family continues to enjoy. Following that experience, I applied for a course at the Silom Thai Cooking School which greatly strengthened my culinary knowledge.
“Education aside, I can safely say that my family is what inspires me the most when it comes to cooking, and preparing their favourite food is one of many ways I express my love for them. Likewise, my children are the ones who helped me expand my culinary abilities by encouraging me to experiment with new cuisines. With that in mind, my signature cooking style is traditional, but with a twist. A lot of dishes are considered classics for a reason but sometimes it’s good to mix things up a little bit!”
PANEER TIKKA, WITH PUDINA CHUTNEY
TOTAL TIME: 2.5 HOURS
• 500g paneer, cut into bite-sized pieces • 3⁄4 cup plain yoghurt
• 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
• 1-2 tsps red chilli powder
• 1 tsp coriander powder • 1 tsp cumin powder
• 1 tsp garam masala
• 2 tsps cooking oil
• 2 tsps ginger & garlic paste • 1-2 tsps salt
• 1 tsp tikka masala mix
• 1 tbsp lime juice
• 1⁄2 tsp coriander leaves, finely chopped • 1⁄2 tsp chaat masala (garnish)
• 1 bell pepper diced (optional)
• 1 red onion, diced (optional)
PUDINA (MINT) CHUTNEY
• 1 mango, chopped
• 1⁄2 cup mint leaves
• 1 cup coriander leaves • 5-7 green chillies
• 1 tbsp lime juice
• 1⁄4 tsp salt
• 1⁄2 cup water
1. For the Pudina Chutney, blend all ingredients together into a smooth paste.
2. For the marinade, mix the yoghurt, turmeric (haldi), red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, oil, ginger & garlic paste, salt, lime juice and tikka masala in a bowl. Season according to taste.
3. Carefully add the paneer to the marinade in increments of 4-5 pieces to ensure the segments don’t break. Stir gently, making sure each piece is well-coated. (Optional: add diced capsicum and red onion for an extra kick)
4. Cover in plastic wrap and marinade the paneer for 1-2 hours in a refrigerator (or overnight for a more intense flavour).
5. Heat oil in a pan over a low-medium heat, add the paneer and cook until lightly brown (along with the diced red onion and/or capsicum).
6. Wrap the paneer and vegetables in cooking foil and transfer onto a baking tray.
7. Preheat the oven at 180°C then roast the paneer for 7-10 minutes. Unwrap the foil and continue baking for another 5 minutes.
8. Plate the paneer and vegetables, and garnish with chaat masala.
9. Serve with Pudina Chutney.
PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 50 MINUTES
- 1⁄2 kg boneless chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tsps ginger paste & garlic paste
- 2 tbsps lime juice
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 large egg, beaten
DREDGE FOR CHICKEN:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsps corn flour
- Cooking oil for shallow frying
- • 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 2 fresh chillies, chopped
- 1 bundle of spring onions, chopped • 1 1⁄2 tbsb vinegar
- 2-3 tbsps soy sauce
- 2 tsps sweet soy sauce
- 2-3 tbsps chilli sauce/sriracha
- 4-5 tbsps tomato ketchup
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1⁄4 cup hot water
1. In a bowl, add all of the ingredients for the marinade along with the chicken. Mix well and let the mixture stand for 20-30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a pan in preparation for shallow frying.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the all-purpose flour and corn flour.
4. Coat the marinated chicken pieces in the flour mixture then gently place in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown.
5. In a saucepan, heat a small amount of cooking oil and add the garlic and ginger paste. Gently sauté until light brown.
6. Add the sesame oil, fresh chillies, vinegar, soy sauce, spring onions, chilli sauce, and ketchup to the saucepan. Stir and add hot water.
7. Once the sauce thickens, add the fried chicken pieces and mix well. Make sure the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated in sauce.
8. Turn off the heat, add chopped spring onion stalks, mix, and serve.